Ben Wheatley has been quietly making quality films for a few years now and ‘Free Fire’ is probably his most commercial. It’s still a very indie film, but the consistent action and comedy will likely appeal to a wider audience than his previous work. Hopefully, this movie makes enough money to justify a bit more faith in him. Then we might see what he is really capable of.
The story is about as bare bones as a movie can be and flows by at a swift 88 minutes or so. We meet our characters in a quick group of scenes that allow them tide slop their basic character traits. Then some shit goes down and they start shooting at each other for an hour. That’s the gist of the plot.
The good news is that they get across just enough character development in the opening to create a few characters worth caring about. Then the director is smart enough to know which characters matter most and allow them to deliver the best moments. He does also let the characters I disliked most stick around until the end, but they get their demise in a bloody fun way. Which seems to be the goal of this aimless shoot out.
Actors like Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, Brie Larson, and Sharlto Copley give the movie just enough stars to lure someone in. Then they all deliver their typically entertaining work. Nobody is exceptional in any way, but I thought Armie Hammer’s suave confidence was a lot of fun. Copley also delivered a hand full of laughs with his cocky South African self just playing himself again.
Yet, despite some of the fun, my mind tended to veer off from time to time. I began thinking about how different a situation like the one posed here in the film would go without guns. I’m sure that people would just bring swords to the exchange, but it certainly would be a more fair fight. There would be a bit more skill involved. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just getting more cynical the older I get.
Still, there is plenty of fun to be had in this shoot ’em up. So, if your idea of a good time is a bunch of guys and a gal shooting at each other than this will deliver the goods. If you don’t like guns and prefer a bit more story than you might want to stay home. Personally, I had just enough fun to recommend it.
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